Caribbean call to strengthen Agro-Tourism links

(Barbados) – A Caribbean hotelier has issued a call for strengthening the hotel sector’s ties to local food producers.

Such local linkages asserted Barbadian hotelier Ralph Taylor generate several benefits: “First, tourists want to savor the local delicacies. In fact, one of the most common complaints is the dearth of local dishes.”

Taylor, owner of The SoCo Hotel on the picturesque south coast of Barbados, asserted the other reason was economic, “because you will have to pay a lot more to have your food imported from abroad. Besides, tourists do not want their dinners to come on the same flight as they did.”

He went on to say the use of local food “also means we can employ more local recipes and hire more local people to cook the local delicacies. Make no mistake – genuine and attractive local food is one of the major attractions for all tourists”

Farm-to-fork programs stimulate the wealth creation of farmers, contends Taylor who launched a number of such programs throughout his hospitality career. He added such internal linkages “also drives down the operational cost of doing business by dramatically lowering food costs.”

Smaller hotels like his can lead the charge for using more local produce but he warned they could not do it alone: “Government departments responsible for farmer sustainability, development non-profits, tourism departments and community groups all have to pitch in and work together to make such valuable agro-tourism linkages sustainable, productive and durable.”

Taylor asserted sustainable and protected local agriculture means “after major storms and floods, hotels can stay open for business if they are sourcing local food from sustainable food growers using farming techniques which protect their crops from extreme weather.”

About The Soco Hotel
The SoCo Hotel, located in the heart of Barbados’ vibrant south coast, offers an all-inclusive holiday in a boutique environment. Ideal for the discerning traveler who desires the best of both worlds, SoCo offers chic hotel facilities at an exceptional value. Delicious food and drinks; friendly Caribbean service; an open, uncluttered design; and one of the best views in Barbados are all part of The SoCo Hotel experience. SoCo’s 24 ultra-modern rooms have been artfully outfitted with a blend of South Beach style and Caribbean flair.

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